Saving Little Hearts

Megan Ryan in her home with daughter Natalie Ryan

Colorado's cardiac
surgical outcomes
national averages,

which the heart
institute attributes
to a total
"team effort."


Survival Rate

for arterial switch
repair, avsd repair,
fontan procedure,
tof repair and
vsd repair.

Children's Colorado has always offered high-level care for neonates with complex congenital heart disease.

Now that these babies can be delivered through the Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health at Children's Colorado – instead of being transferred after birth – the outcomes for their interventions and surgeries have continued to improve.

"Often a few minutes or hours can make all the difference between life and death," said James Jaggers, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery. "It's a very complex interdisciplinary matter requiring close collaboration with obstetricians, high-risk obstetricians, cardiac anesthesiologists, surgeons, interventional care and cardiac interventionalists."

Megan Ryan felt being able to deliver at Children's Colorado gave her baby Natalie a future after she was diagnosed with tricuspid atresia with transposition of the great arteries, aortic stenosis and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

"I received fetal echocardiograms at Children's Colorado every month, and we prepared with a large team to get everything in place. It was really amazing," Ryan said.

Natalie underwent a Norwood procedure, the first of three corrective surgeries, just two days after she was born. She had a Glenn procedure at five months, and will require a Fontan procedure during her toddler years.

The next step for Children's Colorado's Heart Institute is intervening before a baby with a congenital heart disease is born.

"It's a very exciting time and we hope to begin in the next year," Dr. Jaggers said. "Future plans are to be able to take a baby in the second trimester and perform a corrective procedure in utero."